The dream engine insists on beef

by , under dream engine, life

I went to a small restaurant alone where I’d been with Spouse not a week earlier: not hard to find, but hard to get to, down a flight of stairs that were almost a ladder to a rickety landing at the side of a narrow town-centre canal, possibly in Utrecht. I knew that they had a fairly small menu: two beef dishes, one pork dish, one chicken dish, and possibly one each of fish and vegetarian too but I won’t swear to that. If you wanted beef, you had to choose the sauce first of all (from two different ones), even before ordering an aperitif or a starter.

The waiter/proprietor came to ask which sauce I wanted. I said “I don’t want any sauce, I’m going to have either the chicken or the pork”. The chicken was an interesting-looking meatloaf en croute incorporating fruit, the pork a roulade wrapped in bacon (both with pictures in the menu). I sort of tried to ask if the sweeter sauce would go with the pork as he was so insistent that I choose a sauce, but he kept steering me to the beef.

“I don’t want to eat any beef!” I said, but he wouldn’t desist. “If you’ve run out of pork and chicken, tell me! If you don’t want your guests to eat your favourite chicken or pig” (because I’d seen some pigs rooting outside the restaurant), “tell me! If you don’t want to serve anything but beef to single diners, tell me! Just stop trying to influence me without being up front about it. I’ll go and eat pork or chicken somewhere else!” I got up. “And now I’ll never dare come here again, I suppose.”

More convoluted dreams in which I was keeping a large old book safe for my father-in-law in various public transport, and seeing film footage of my father-in-law as a boy of about thirteen with light-coloured curls — it was black and white film but I knew he’d been a golden-haired boy with many older brothers and sisters who were all nasty people (in waking life he has grey previously-dark hair and only one younger brother, a friendly inoffensive man).


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